Tucson, Arizona

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The BUZZ

What's it like to live in Tucson

What are 5 things you love and 5 things you dislike about living in Tucson?

Monsoon season and generally the seasons here. You get more seasonal shifts than in CA where I am from. The sunset is otherworldly almost every day for 1-2 months.

The winter is perfect weather and makes up for the heat in the summer. Would much rather have extreme heat than extreme cold (and snow…)

Quirky and laidback people, and pretty cultured town. People appreciate art and crafts, and you see that in the murals everywhere. You get fewer big events but they’re there.

The perfect size, IMO - big enough town to be interesting (and have the occasional big event), small enough to feel like a member of a community.

Mountains everywhere you drive, and they are always changing - snow, turning green, fogged, pink lit…and lots of great hiking trails!

Speaking of which, Mt Lemmon, for when you want to escape the dry brown. Beautiful lush and cool area.

Cost of living is very good, even if it’s not as much of a steal as before.

Now the bad…

I agree with what someone else said about one giant suburb. It’s a lot of strip malls esp down Oracle. You do have to drive everywhere and I wish there were better public transportation.

Stone and the East/west streets look trashy and sketchy. Chain link fence and dilapidated houses. You do have crime here, like cars getting broken into.

Snowbirds!!! Clogging up the place just as the weather gets nice. Something very annoying about that. You are commuting to work and these rich retired folk make the drive much longer.

And yeah the heat is brutal, compared to CA which has mild weather all year. But the natural beauty, wildlife, sky and blooming cacti etc make up for it.

What are 5 things you love and 5 things you dislike about living in Tucson?

These are some personal reasons that likely won't apply to everyone, but hey, I value them.

The good:

It's so inexpensive.

I lack the terminology to describe it, but basically I really like the architecture of the homes in the neighborhoods around downtown and the University. It definitely doesn't feel like anywhere else I've lived or visited.

You can hike into so many different gorgeous mountain environments straight from three of the four edges of town. On a similar note you can almost always see a clear night sky as you're walking down the street, even in the middle of town.

Protected green left-turn arrows at the end of the cycle.

With the exception of the worst summer heatwaves or the odd high-in-the-40s winter day, you can almost always find a time of day or night where it's very pleasant to be outdoors. Sometimes that's 4am but hey.

The bad:

Hot weather is definitely mentally and physically draining, as Dragonbard stated well. If you have a job that involves being outdoors or being indoors but with poor climate control … it's just a constant stressor for like half the year, i.e. half your life.

Broadly speaking, education isn't culturally valued the same way it is in other places I've lived (the Upper Midwest, East Coast suburbs).

Almost no free public tennis courts, inexplicably.

Way too many people think it's wonderful to gun their shitty car or truck's engine in underpasses or parking garages. I disagree.

I miss greenery and naturally occurring surface water just being a normal thing in the middle of a city, rather than something you have to go seek out on a trek into the mountains.

What is it like to live in Tucson, Arizona?

Tucson…. The little town that got big, but refused to admit it. But we are working on it.

The clouds generally move in one direction, not in circles, and the ground doesn't shake. The weather is very predictable, and for much of the year outdoor activities are ample and enjoyable, unless you are into ice skating.

There are mountains and lakes within a couple hours by car. Hunting and fishing are popular and there are plenty of places nearby to do both.

Tucson runs 25 miles from East to west, and about 20 miles north to south. There are bike paths everywhere, and public transportation to get you most places. There are mountains on all sides. Some are more like hills, some are actually mountainous. We are 62 miles from the Mexican border.

Summer starts in May with hot and dry, turns to hot and humid in July with afternoon storms that blow in from the southeast and cool things down many evenings through August. September gets hot and dry again and fades into October's cooler evenings. Winters are very mild, with only a handful of days below freezing, and a rare snowstorm that makes for great photos.

Traffic is fair. If you are from a big city, you will never complain about the traffic. People can be stupid anywhere, and we have our share of stupid drivers, particularly during the winter months when the snowbirds flock into town until April.

The U of A is in the center of town and is central to many in town. 40,000 students keep the kitchy area around the campus interesting. There are bars and clubs and such.

The food is incredible. If you like Mexican food you can find it in any part of town. We have all other styles, as well. People here like to eat.

Work is sometimes a struggle. Tucson is primarily a service industry town. Call centers have a huge presence here thanks to a stable infrastructure, and hospitality professionals can find a wide array of offerings. Raytheon builds missles here, and they employ thousands.

We are not really impressed by celebrities. Many come here to escape, seek treatment, or have a home by the mountains with incredible views and a bit of privacy. Things here are a little slower and more casual. Shorts and flip-flops are acceptable attire most of the year.

It is Tucson. It is NOT Phoenix.

What is it like to live in Tucson, AZ?

I went to school at the University of Arizona lived in Tucson and have been visiting since I was 7. I’m 60. Tucson is the only place of all of those that I truly love.
I live in Southern California. I’ve lived in the Washington DC suburbs and New York City.

I could write pages, but I’m trying to do us all a favor and make my response shorter ;-)

Tucson is a medium sized town. Services, housing, schools and shopping are all excellent. Desert southwest culture is incredible. Typical big city culture? Mediocre at best. So if you’re living in New York City and spend your weekends at art museums? You would never move to Tucson.

It gets hot. Not as hot as Phoenix, but it gets hot in the summer. But I lived in Washington DC and in neither place would you go out in the middle of summer and hang out. The difference? You can walk around the block in Tucson and you won’t sweat. In DC? Your afternoon and your clothes are ruined. Desert temperatures are cool at night and hot in the summer. But it’s sunny almost every day of the year.

Tucson has some beautiful neighborhoods; both old and new. If you like the outdoors? It’s a “bowl“ surrounded by mountains. You can hike and mountain bike to your hearts content. You can hunt. And… The southernmost ski resort is in the mountains overlooking Tucson. Mt. Lemmon.

If you want the big city? Phoenix. Sports teams and arts/theater culture. It’s 90 minutes away.

Mexico? An hour away. While Mexico is currently unpopular due to danger, that doesn’t mean there aren’t safe places to enjoy. San Diego? Six hours. Los Angeles? Eight hours. And the great ski areas of the west or a day’s drive away.

If you like Southwest and Mexican culture? Tucson is truly a “western town“. More so than any other larger town outside of Texas. Arts, rodeos, Mexican celebrations and exceptional southwestern food.

The University of Arizona brings another level of culture, education and diversity. Some major corporations have installations around town That contribute to the economy.

Every town has its mix of people, but any Tucsonan will tell you it’s a nice town. People are friendly. It’s not a pretentious place to live and the cost of living is extremely reasonable.

I think you’ll find Tucsonans relate to the town, the history, culture and the natural setting. People have that in common and it creates a bond.

Saving the best for last. The Sonoran desert is widely considered the most beautiful on the planet. Saguaro cacti loom over the landscape like ancient giants. People like myself fall in love with it and that never leaves you. Tucson is the only city in the country surrounded by the Sonoran desert. It’s spectacular

Tucson Arizona | Pros and Cons